A Sexually Transmitted Infection
Katie Salerno/Flickr Creative Commons
Contracting other;sexually transmitted diseases can significantly increase the risk of getting HIV. For instance, some STDs like syphilis and herpes cause skin lesions that make it easier for HIV to enter the body.
STDs may also cause inflammation, which is something that is triggered by the body’s immune system. HIV preferentially infects defensive white blood cells, so when there are more of them around, it’s easier to contract HIV.
Having an STD like gonorrhea or syphilis means that you’ve engaged in unprotected sex, a key risk factor for HIV. So if you have been diagnosed with an STD, talk to your healthcare provider about how you can reduce your HIV risk.;
How Long Does It Take To See The Signs Of Hiv
The signs and symptoms of HIV may first appear within two to four weeks of infection. The stage in which the symptoms appear is called the stage of acute HIV infection. The symptoms appear due to the resistance or fight of the immune system against HIV. In the initial stage, the virus multiplies rapidly and spreads throughout the body. It targets and destroys the CD4 cells . As a result, the level of HIV in the blood and the chances of transmission at this stage are very high. It is crucial to recognize the early signs and seek medical help, since early diagnosis and treatment of HIV gets the best results.
Hiv Warning Signs That You Should Not Ignore
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus, more commonly known as HIV, is a virus that severely affects the bodys entire immune apparatus. Weakened by HIV, the hosts immune system becomes increasingly susceptible to infections and diseases and the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, more commonly known as AIDS, develops.
In other words, the condition known as AIDS refers to a broad spectrum of symptoms and conditions that appears due to a severe shortfall of the immune system caused by an acquired viral infection.
Once HIV infection occurs, the viral antibodies can take upwards of 3 to 4 weeks before reaching detectable levels. As such, during this time, known as the window period, laboratory tests can potentially give a negative result even if the patient has already become infected.
Therefore, while infection with HIV does not necessarily entail the development of AIDS, every person who has developed AIDS is invariably HIV positive. Furthermore, HIV infection develops across various stages, each identified by a set of distinct symptoms and other clinical indicators. Furthermore, most of the symptoms associated with HIV infection occur primarily well into the evolution of the infection and the appearance of AIDS.
Below we take a closer look at the most common symptoms:
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Cold Sores Or Genital Herpes
Oral herpes and genital herpes are an indication of both ARS and HIV in the late stages. Having herpes can also represent a risk factor for contracting HIV, since genital herpes may cause ulcer and thus make it easier for the HIV to enter the body during sex. Also, people who have HIV usually have more severe herpes outbreaks more frequently because their immune system is weaker.
How Are Hiv And Aids Treated
Medicines can help people with HIV stay healthy. They can also prevent HIV from progressing to AIDS.
Health care providers prescribe a combination of different medicines for people with HIV and AIDS. They must be taken exactly as prescribed or they won’t work. These medicines:
- help keep the number of CD4 cells high
- reduce the viral load of HIV
Regular blood tests will check the number of CD4 cells in the body and the viral load.
If an HIV-positive person’s CD4 count gets low, doctors prescribe daily antibiotics. This prevents pneumocystis pneumonia, which happens in people with weakened immune systems.
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Diagnosis In Men Vs Women
Doctors diagnose HIV in both men and women by testing a blood or saliva sample, although they could also test a urine sample. This test looks for antibodies produced by the person to fight the virus. The test typically takes around 3 to 12 weeks to detect antibodies.
Another test looks for HIV antigens, which are substances that the virus produces immediately after transmission. These antigens cause the immune system to activate. HIV produces the p24 antigen in the body even before antibodies develop.
Usually, both the antibody and the antigen tests are done in labs, but there are also home tests that people can take.
Home tests may require a small sample of blood or saliva, and their results are quickly available. If the test is positive, it is essential to confirm the results with a doctor. If the test is negative, a person should repeat it after a few months to confirm the results.
We Know That Men Who Have Sex With Men In Illinois Are At Higher Risk For Hiv What About Women Who Have Sex With Women
It is not a personâs gender, sexual orientation, race or class that puts them at risk for HIV. People are at risk for HIV when they practice risky behaviors. Women who identify as lesbian or gay can be at risk for HIV by practicing any of the behaviors that place women at risk. Lesbian women have become infected with HIV by using injection drugs or having unprotected sex with male or female partners who are already infected with HIV. Women who have sex with other women should follow guidelines in this fact sheet to protect themselves, and can call the Illinois AIDS/HIV/STD Hotline at 800-243-AIDS for specific information.
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How Often Should A Man Get Tested
Sexually active men should get routine tests for HIV.
Men who are sexually active should get tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime as part of their routine health care.
The CDC recommend that everyone between the ages of should take an HIV test.
The CDC also recommend that people with specific risk factors should take a test at least once a year . This recommendation applies to gay and bisexual men, and men who have sex with men, and users of injectable drugs.
Besides these formal recommendations, everyone who may have been exposed to HIV or had sex without a condom should also take a test.
Hiv Symptoms Every Woman Needs To Know
Human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, attacks the bodys infection-fighting immune system. Without treatment, HIV;can lead to AIDS . At the start of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, people who were infected with HIV quickly progressed to serious disease. But todays treatments;help lower the amount of virus in the bloodso people who are HIV-positive can live healthier, longer lives and not necessarily;progress to AIDS.
More than one million people in the US live with HIV, and scarily, one in seven of them dont know they have it. HIV symptoms can be hard to detect. Within a month or two of HIV entering the body, 40% to 90% of people experience flu-like symptoms known as acute retroviral syndrome . But sometimes HIV symptoms don’t appear for yearsor even a decadeafter infection.
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“In the early stages of HIV infection, the most common symptoms are none,” Michael Horberg, MD, director of HIV/AIDS for Kaiser Permanente, in Oakland, California, tells Health. As many as one;in five people in the United States with HIV doesn’t know they have it, according to the Centers for Disease Control . That’s why it’s so important to get tested, especially if you currently have or have had unprotected sex with more than one partner or use intravenous drugs.
HIV symptoms for women and for men are often the same; here are 16 of the most common signs.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Hiv
No two people with HIV will have the same symptoms, and some may not have any at all. But the infection can cause some common changes over time.
In the first few weeks: These first, flu-like symptoms happen because your body is reacting to HIV. Your immune system is trying to fight it off. The symptoms at this stage can include:
- Aches and pains in muscles and joints
Keep in mind that even if you have these symptoms, that doesnât automatically mean you are HIV-positive. Many different illnesses can cause these problems. Talk to a doctor or an HIV testing facility if you think you might be infected.
At this early stage of HIV infection, itâs important to know that you may not get accurate results from an HIV test. It can take 3-12 weeks for enough signs of the virus to show up on routine tests for the infection, which measure antibodies against HIV. A new kind of screening, called a nucleic acid test, can detect the virus itself during this early stage, but itâs expensive and not usually used for routine HIV testing.
Let the testing site or your doctor know if you think you might be recently infected. Also, be sure to use a condom every time you have sex, and take other steps to prevent spreading the virus.
After years with untreated HIV, youâre likely to get infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi that your body is no longer strong enough to fight off. They can be a sign that your infection has gone from HIV to AIDS. You might have:
- Weight loss
What Is Usually The First Sign Of Hiv
- Swollen lymph nodes: Lymph nodes are a part of the bodys immune system that helps get rid of bacteria and viruses. An HIV infection, like many other infections, can cause the inflammation of lymph nodes, which can be felt as round or nodular swellings in the armpit, groin, and neck. The swelling is often associated with aches and pains in these areas.
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Sore Throat And Headache
According to Dr. Horberg, sore throat and headache are frequently recognized as ARS only in context.
One should be aware that the body still hasnt produced antibodies to HIV, so an antibody test may not pick it up . One should find some other test options, like the one that detects viral RNA, usually within 9 days of the infections.
Stage : Acute Hiv Infection
Within 2 to 4 weeks after infection with HIV, about two-thirds of people will have a flu-like illness. This is the bodys natural response to HIV infection.;
Flu-like symptoms can include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Mouth ulcers
These symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. But some people do not have any symptoms at all during this early stage of HIV.
Dont assume you have HIV just because you have any of these symptomsthey can be similar to those caused by other illnesses. But if you think you may have been exposed to HIV, get an HIV test.
Heres what to do:
Are Hiv Test Results Private
Your HIV results can be:
- Confidential. This means your HIV test results include your name and other information, but only people allowed to see your medical records can see the results. Most HIV tests are confidential. HIV-positive test results are reported to state or local health departments to be included in HIV statistics, but health departments remove all personal information before they share test information with the CDC. The CDC uses the information only for reporting reasons and doesnt share it with any other organizations.
- Anonymous. This means you dont have to give your name when you take an HIV test, and only you know the test results. Both home HIV tests are anonymous. If you take Home Access HIV-1 test, you get a number. To get your test results, you call the lab and give the number instead of your name. Some public HIV test sites offer anonymous testing.
Talk to your health care provider or contact your local health department or other test sites to learn more about your testing choices.
What This Rash Looks Like
A maculopapular rash is usually a large area that is red and has small, confluent bumps. The sandpapery rash of scarlet fever, or scarletina, is the classic example of a maculopapular rash.
These rashes are described by the Greek word exanthem, which means “a skin eruption that bursts forth or blooms.” The rashes do not necessarily itch, but should they, physicians may prescribe creams to patients to mute the itching sensation.
This photo contains content that some people may find graphic or disturbing.
DermNet /;CC BY-NC-ND
Fever And Night Sweats
People with HIV may experience long periods of low-grade fever. A temperature between 99.8°F and 100.8°F is considered a low-grade fever.
The body develops a fever when something is wrong, but the cause isnt always obvious. Because its a low-grade fever, those who are unaware of their HIV-positive status may ignore the symptom.
Sometimes, night sweats that can interfere with sleep may accompany fever.
HIV-positive women may also have more severe premenstrual symptoms.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hiv/aids In Women
Many people have no symptoms when they first become infected with HIV. Some people may have a flu-like illness within a month or two after exposure to the virus. These symptoms usually disappear within a week to a month and are often mistaken for those of another viral infection.
More severe symptoms may not appear for 10 years or more. Even during the asymptomatic period, the virus is active inside a persons body and can be passed to another person.
As the immune system worsens, a variety of complications start to occur. For many people, the first signs of infection are large lymph nodes or swollen glands that may be enlarged for more than three months. Other symptoms often experienced months to years before the onset of AIDS include:
- lack of energy or fatigue
- weight loss
- frequent low-grade fevers and night sweats
- frequent yeast infections
- skin rashes or flaky skin that is hard to heal
- short-term memory loss
Most symptoms of HIV disease are similar in men and women. Women who have HIV can have additional symptoms that happen more often. These include:
- vaginal yeast infections
- other vaginal infections such as bacterial vaginosis; common sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea, Chlamydia and trichomoniasis; human papillomavirus infections that cause genital warts and can lead to cervical cancer; pelvic inflammatory disease
- infection of a womens reproductive organs and menstrual cycle changes, such as not having periods
Can Hiv Be Prevented Or Avoided
The best way to prevent HIV is to not have sex with a person who has HIV, or share a needle with a person who has HIV. However, there is also a medicine called PrEP that people can take before coming into contact with HIV that can prevent them from getting an HIV infection.
PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. It is for people who are at long-term risk of getting HIV either through sexual activity or by injecting drugs. If youre taking PrEP and come into contact with HIV, the medicine makes it difficult for HIV to develop inside your body.
Other ways to prevent HIV include:
- When you have sex, practice safer sex by using a condom. The best condom is a male latex condom. A female condom is not as effective but does offer some protection.
- Do not share needles and syringes.
- Never let someone elses blood, semen, urine, vaginal fluid, or feces get into your anus, vagina, or mouth.
How Is Hiv Transmitted Or Spread
The following are the means by which the HIV virus is spread:
Vertical transmission. HIV can be spread to babies born to, or breastfed by, mothers infected with the virus.
Sexual contact. In adults and adolescents, HIV is spread most commonly by sexual contact with an infected partner. The virus enters the body through the lining of the vagina, vulva, penis, rectum, or abraded or irritated tissues in the lining of the;mouth through sexual activity.
Blood contamination. HIV may also be spread through contact with infected blood. However, due to the screening of donated blood for evidence of HIV infection, the risk of acquiring HIV from blood transfusions is extremely low.
Needles. HIV is frequently spread by sharing needles, syringes, or drug use equipment with someone who is infected with the virus. Transmission from patient to health care worker, or vice-versa, through accidental sticks with contaminated needles or other medical instruments, is rare.
No known cases of HIV/AIDS have been spread by the following:
Enlarged lymph nodes
An HIV-infected child is usually diagnosed with AIDS when the immune system becomes severely damaged or other types of infections occur. As the immune system deteriorates, complications begin to develop. The following are some common complications, or symptoms, of the onset of AIDS. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
Can Hiv/aids Be Prevented
You can reduce the risk of spreading HIV by
- Getting tested for HIV
- Choosing less risky sexual behaviors. This includes limiting the number of sexual partners you have and using latex condoms every time you have sex. If your or your partner is allergic to latex, you can use polyurethane condoms.
- Getting tested and treated for sexually transmitted diseases
- Not injecting drugs
- Talking to your health care provider about medicines to prevent HIV:
- PrEP is for people who don’t already have HIV but are at very high risk of getting it. PrEP is daily medicine that can reduce this risk.
- PEP is for people who have possibly been exposed to HIV. It is only for emergency situations. PEP must be started within 72 hours after a possible exposure to HIV.
NIH: National Institutes of Health